How To Use Digital Kitchen Scales
So you’ve come to your senses and you want to learn How To Measure Ingredients Using A Digital Kitchen Scale. Hey, I’ve come to my senses too, and I want to share everything I know about this far more superior way of measuring!
I, and many other food bloggers are making the switch from cup measurements, and with good reason! Using kitchen scales to measure out most ingredients can seem intimidating, but it’s not, it’s easier than using cup measurements and better. Plus, there are so many benefits compared to using cups. The biggest being that it’s the most accurate way to measure and frankly, weight measurements, no matter where you are in the world are the same. Meaning you get the same exact results as I did in my recipes. The same can’t be said of cup measurements!
I’m sure you’ve heard your favorite bakers tell you that baking is a science. Everything needs to be precise in order for each ingredient to properly play it’s roll in creating a bread, a pastry, a cookie. Whatever it is, really important. For example 15g if extra flour in a cookie recipe can muck up the entire recipe and stop it from spreading properly.
Also, have you ever tried making macarons? Or bread? Even cookies! Those recipes need accuracy! In fact, my macaron recipe even weighs the water in grams! Some recipes are more forgiving than others but at the end of the day, you get the best results when the recipe is made right. On this blog, I’m all about accuracy and sharing recipes that work.
Things I’ll Be Covering
So without further ado, I’m going to give you a 101 on measuring ingredients using digital kitchen scales. I’ll also be covering a couple other topics so that if you’re new to kitchen scales, you know exactly what you’re doing!
Table of Contents
What are digital kitchen scales?
Digital Kitchen scales are an electronic kitchen device about the size of a small plate (usually, depending on brand) that helps you measure things in weight. There’s a little screen down the bottom to tell you how much something weighs, and they’re fairly easy and straightforward to use. Some will come with extra features, but you don’t need extra features. You need them to be accurate and to measure your ingredients. I’m going to cover more about what I think you should look for in digital kitchen scales a little further down in the post.
Kitchen Scales VS Cup Measurements: it’s not even a contest!
Ok, here’s the thing. You can measure using both methods. The question here is which is more accurate? Unless you know how to measure using cup measurements properly (scoop and level method), then you run a huge risk of your recipe not working. Even then, your cup of flour will be different in volume each time and some recipes rely on exact measurements.
More recently I made cookies with a difference of 25g of flour between each batch. Batch 1 came out flat and sad looking, batch two was the exact same recipe but with about 2 tbsp of flour extra and it was fantastic. Chewy, shaped better and thicker. The way a good cookie should be. The point is guys, 2 tbsp of flour made all the difference and it’s not difficult to accidentally use more flour than is required and get completely different results!
Here’s another fun fact! Cup sizes are different depending on where you are in the world, grams are all the same! 1 cup of flour in Australia is equal to 150g, 1 cup of flour in the US is equal to 120g, 1 Australian cup is 250ml, 1 American cup is 236ml in volume. How are you going to know which one to use if all you see is cup measurements in a recipe? You run the risk of your recipe not working.
The easiest way to fix that problem is digital kitchen scales. If I write 150g of flour in a recipe, your kitchen scales, no matter where you are in the world will give you 150g of flour. That’s the same exact amount as I used in my kitchen. That means, your recipe is on track to work. There’s no guess work.
That’s it, that’s my main point. It’s not even a contest guys. Measuring by weight is the most accurate way to measure. There are even more benefits to using kitchen scales that I’ll cover a little further down.
How To Use Kitchen Scales
Using kitchen scales is super easy. It’s really straight forward, and they pretty much all work the same or in similar ways so here’s a quick breakdown!
- Turn the kitchen scales on – screen will turn on showing zero.
- Set your scale to grams – the button will be called unit or show a unit of measurements. Scroll through until you reach the one that shows ‘g’ for grams. Most scales will stay on this setting even after you turn the scales off so you won’t need to keep setting it to grams.
- Pop your jug, cup or mixing bowl on top – Press zero to bring the scales back to zero. That’ll take away the weight of the bowl and only measure your ingredients. Some scales might call this ‘tare’.
- Add your ingredients – the number will immediately begin moving to show you how many grams of your ingredient is in the bowl. Be precise! Some recipes might call for 236g of flour, make sure it’s 236g. Use a spoon to take some of the ingredient out or put more in if you need. Once your ingredient is in, press zero again to take away the weight of the bowl and ingredient you just measured and add the next ingredient.
That’s it! It’s that freaking easy! No washing cups.
3 Things your Kitchen Scales MUST HAVE!
So, I’ve convinced you to take the plunge and buy a digital kitchen scale or your kitchen. Great! You’ve come to your senses, like I did. Most kitchen scales will work fine, in that they’ll easily give you weight measurements. But I’ve been using kitchen scales for over a decade and there are three things I think you should look for when buying your first digital kitchen scales.
- Physical buttons – don’t go for kitchen scales with touch sensitive buttons. You need buttons that you can press and know that you’ve pressed them without looking. That’s because when you add each ingredient into your bowl, you need to press the ‘0’ button which will take the screen measurement back to zero before adding the next ingredient. It’s really easy to become confused with touch sensitive buttons.
- You don’t need bells and whistles, just something that works properly – you’re ready to invest in a pair of kitchen scales, and it is an investment. But you don’t need bells and whistles and you don’t need to spend 100’s of dollars either. You need quality. Cheaper scales work fine, but will eventually stop measuring accurately. Expensive scales give you a whole bunch of features you will literally never use. Go for the mid-range ones, about AUD$60 – $99. The ones that weigh things properly, are built of quality materials and nothing else. Those are the ones that will last the longest. Decades in most cases! The best time to buy them is when they’re on sale. Some brands have huge Black Friday Sales at the end of each year with heavy discounts.
- Size matters – and I’m not talking physical size. Smaller scales are best in that regard because they’re easy to store in a draw, but I’m talking about weight capacity. If you’re a baker who uses a heavy stand mixer bowl, especially one made of glass, you want to make sure your kitchen scales have a high weight capacity, ideally 5kg / 11lbs so that you can keep measuring without the risk of the scales not being to weigh anymore because the bowl is too heavy.
Those are the three things to look for in kitchen scales! Don’t worry about bells and whistles. I’ve had my scales for 8 years. I love them. Unfortunately, they stopped making them so more recently I got a second pair for my garage kitchen (where I film my videos). They’re the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale 5kg. I love them! They’ve got physical buttons, a light up screen (bonus), display pulls out so I can read it when there’s a big bowl on the scales (bonus), and most importantly is has physical buttons! No bells and whistles, just good quality kitchen scales.
What about measuring spoons?
This one’s a tricky one. When a recipe says 1 tbsp of an ingredient instead of grams, you’re doing a lot of guess work. 1 tbsp in the USA and UK is 15ml, in Australia, it’s 20ml.
Usually measuring some ingredients in such small amounts isn’t going to make a huge difference to the recipe. Some ingredients like raising agents could make or break your recipe, you just have to trust the recipe writer and go with what they’ve listed. Usually raising agents are measured using teaspoons which are the same everywhere so you should be ok.
What about liquids?
Fluid ounces are the literal devil lol. They’re not a weight measurement, they’re a measurement of volume. If I’m measuring liquid, most of the time I offer it in milliliters. Sometimes you might see it in grams for recipes that need the accuracy. Again, it’s going to be up to go to go online and convert things. Stick to recipes that have a milliliter measurement. It’s often shown as mls in the recipe ingredients list. Don’t trust cup measurements because a cup of liquid is smaller in American than it is in my own kitchen in Australia.
What if my recipe doesn’t have weight measurements?
Honestly, don’t bother making it, unless you trust that recipe site. If you trust that blogger and they only offer cups, go ahead, and make the recipe using cups. You can always try to convert things yourself using Google but even then google is going to be messy in what it offers up in it’s results. There are auto converters, there are lists, there are loads of ways to do it. Stick to recipes that offer grams. Most website offer them now.
Now that you know all about scales, the benefits of measuring using weight and how important it is to be accurate in measuring ingredients, check out some of my favorite dessert recipes on the site and get baking!
Before anybody says it
Yes, I know grams are a a unit of measurement for mass, not weight. For the purposes of this post and the way i measure ingredients (and frankly most people measure them), we’re going to assume grams are a unit of weight!